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Oct, 2014

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  1. #1

    Default Bedroom door locks

    Hi, have just had new student tenants move into a 6 bed house.

    All 6 bedrooms have old victorian 1-lever locks installed, but only 2 bedrooms have keys. As far as I know all 6 locks are in working order. The tenants asked me if I could install new locks for the 4 bedrooms without keys. I said I could put them in touch with a locksmith who would install new british standard 5 lever locks at £75 each.

    Have just had a phone call from one of them saying that under tenant law/rights, the landlord must supply keys to each working lock in the property and if there are deficient keys, the landlord must foot the bill for installation of all locks on student bedrooms. The tenant said he has this advice from a registered and certified locksmith and will get the university housing union involved if we don't fit new locks. They say that none of their belongings are covered by insurance companies without locks on their doors.

    There is no mention in our contract of which party is responsible. What does common law say?

    Many thanks,
    Henry.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
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    2,530

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    Joint AST for the whole house, or separate ASTs for each room?

    It sounds as though you may have an HMO - which requires you to have locks on all doors which are NOT key operated (to enable easy egress in the event of fire during the night). Are you au fait with HMO legislation?

    It is not your problem if they have rented somewhere they are unable to insure. (Suggest they get a joint insurance policy for the whole house, be much cheaper than individual policies.)

    The other thing worth doing is to telephone the "university housing union" to find out what they are really saying.

  3. #3
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    Jul 2008
    Location
    Yorkshire
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    To complicate the issue ... asTelometer says, locks on bedroom doors on HMOs must be of a certain sort (ie openable without a key from inside the room), however, do these 6 students realise that if they insist on a lock on each of their doors, they are then required to buy a TV licence EACH - although it is a joint tenancy, the presence of locks renders it less like one household, so the licensing authority won't accept one licence for the whole house? In other words, any tenant who has any appliance in their rooms which can receive live TV signals, must buy their own licence. This news is usually sufficient to make them pipe down.

  4. #4

    Default

    Joint AST.

    Not particularly familiar with HMO legislation as I am relatively new to the landlord business. As far as I understood, HMO 'households' are defined by types of groups, so a family of four would be classified as one household, a couple living with a friend would be 3 households, and in my case there are 6 households?

    So under HMO legislation, the 4 bedroom doors with non-working locks would be classified as being 'not key operated' seeing as effectively there are no locks due to the lack of keys? And if this is the case then I would need to pay for the fitting of locks that can be used by key from the outside, but also be openable without a key from the inside?

    As for the TV licence - there is only one communal TV, (they discovered about separate licences in their last property the harsh way and have since wised up) so the joint tenancy/single licence stands.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    8,992

    Default

    Oddly enough I was asked for a new 09/10 student letting if I would have locks fitted (4 beds only, 2 floors, Surrey). Apparently "to satisfy the insurers" (plausible...). Yes, they are all openable from inside the rooms without a key... Being a kind soul I acquiesced..

    Ho hum, more money out!

    Cheers!

    Lodger
    I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

  6. #6
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    Aug 2008
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    In the old days, you would have had a straightfoward house share. They took the house together, and there you were.

    Nowadays you have an HMO. Whether you need to license it, and what you need to do with regards to upgrading it, only your own local authority can tell you.

    As for your "registered and certified locksmith" well I guess there is no such thing (though he may well be a member of a trade body) and he will be looking to create work for himself.

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Yorkshire
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    Quote Originally Posted by HenryTaylor View Post
    Joint AST.

    Not particularly familiar with HMO legislation as I am relatively new to the landlord business. As far as I understood, HMO 'households' are defined by types of groups, so a family of four would be classified as one household, a couple living with a friend would be 3 households, and in my case there are 6 households?
    Correct.



    Quote Originally Posted by HenryTaylor View Post
    So under HMO legislation, the 4 bedroom doors with non-working locks would be classified as being 'not key operated' seeing as effectively there are no locks due to the lack of keys? And if this is the case then I would need to pay for the fitting of locks that can be used by key from the outside, but also be openable without a key from the inside?
    Correct, assuming they are right about your having to provide locks in the first place. They are easy enough to fit yourself, actually. You don't have to get a locksmith in.



    Quote Originally Posted by HenryTaylor View Post
    As for the TV licence - there is only one communal TV, (they discovered about separate licences in their last property the harsh way and have since wised up) so the joint tenancy/single licence stands.
    That's fine as long as none of them also has a TV in their bedrooms.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    North East England
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    43

    Default

    there is no offical certification for uk locksmiths

    report back what your smug tenant comes back with please

    I very much doubt all over them wont have a TV in their room and remember any equipment that can receive TV signals requireds a license wether its used or not... so non of them have laptops with DVB cards either? If they cause trouble for you cause some for them. TV licensing will hound them to death

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil75 View Post
    If they cause trouble for you cause some for them. TV licensing will hound them to death
    Probably not the best way to get the tenancy off to a professional start. In the end, people in shared houses prefer locks on their bedroom doors and they provide better security. They are not hideously expensive. It is probably not worth going to the gallows over.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South Wales
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    Working locks but no keys ?

    If simple locks then pre cut keys (usually lettered) can be purchased over the counter, this means that T can then operate lock, by key from the inside of the room ......that is a big NO NO.

    Locks should be replaced with thumb turn operated, which can be purchased for <£10 each and are a diy fit. If you insist upon leaving original locks in situ then locks should disabled or keyholes plated (both sides).

    NOTE: Any doors on fire escape route (ie front and back doors) should also be thumb turn and not key operated from the inside.

    This is not a huge expense to you and IMO is very much your responsibility, morally, if not legally.

    Hows this for your local paper headline:

    "Student burns to death after local LL refuses to fit proper doorlocks on rented property"
    A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.
    W.Churchill

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